Aww, this was such a cute book. I read it in one day - couldn’t put it down because I was having SO MUCH FUN with the Bridgertons (I don’t think I eveAww, this was such a cute book. I read it in one day - couldn’t put it down because I was having SO MUCH FUN with the Bridgertons (I don’t think I even ate properly during those 24 hours xD). Albeit the last part made me roll my eyes a couple of times, but pregnancy and baby drama usually makes that part of my anatomy behave in such manner - and there’s nothing I can do about it. This was my first Julia Quinn novel and I was very impressed by her writing. I can’t explain exactly why, but I found her style a bit different from every other historical romance I've read until date - which was a good thing. I loved the heroine Daphne, her vividness, her innocence, her caring manner, her teasing, and the way she snaps at her brothers when she has to. But seriously, I had a blast with every character, no exception, for they are all hilarious. The Bridgerton family is portrayed in such a funny, lovely way, that I often wished I was some distant cousin and could jump in there, so I could have fun with them. I can’t even decide if I was sorry for Daphne or not with the whole business of her brothers being jealous of her suitors (the main reason why the girl is still a spinster), because that situation makes way to so many great scenes, and of course, kept her free for Simon. So far, Anthony is my favorite brother, just because he would always make me laugh my head off with his “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!” moments. The poor guy…backstabbed by his best friend who dared to break the Thou Shalt Not Lust After Thy Friend's Sister golden rule! *eheh* (Get a grip, Anthony.) As I’m sure I’ve made it clear, there’s more to this story than just the romance, since I barely mentioned it, but of course this book is first and foremost about Simon and Daphne, about how they'll get together despite his daddy issues, and her jealous brothers. And it was sooo nice to watch them interact. I couldn't get enough of it, especially when he's "fake"-courting her. So cute! I will admit the last part was a bit corny though. (Too many I love you-I love you too scenes! But hey.) No doubt I’ll be reading the next one in the series as soon as I can get my hands on it. Can’t wait to see how this complete nonsense of falling in love, getting married, having to deal with jealous (and dangerous - murderous really) family members, is going to find Anthony and bite him in his perfectly shaped arse.
My The Duke and I cast:
Gemma Arterton as Daphne:
Henry Cavill as Simon:
(Oh! I forgot to mention the scene when Daphne's mother explains her what happens on the wedding night. My God...I had to put the book down for a couple of minutes, and find a tissue to wipe the tears of laughter running down my face. Great comedy moment!) ...more
This review was originally written for The David Gemmell Legend Awards website (http://gemmellaward.com/), and it **contains spoilers and nonsense**
EmThis review was originally written for The David Gemmell Legend Awards website (http://gemmellaward.com/), and it **contains spoilers and nonsense**
Emily Gee’s The Laurentine Spy set in a British Regency/Victorian era type-of period and space, tells the story of Saliel and Athan who, without knowing each other’s identity, work together as spies at the Corhonase court for Laurent, their homeland. While Saliel spies the ladies, Athan does the same with the lords, since in this patriarchal niche males and females do everything separately. Even the married couples seem to interact only at the ballroom and/or in bed (scarcely, in both situations). So, the protagonists have been infiltrated in court for two years gathering all the useful information they came upon, but now they need to get their hands in a code book, make a copy, and take it on their journey back to Laurent. But a spycatcher arrives at court, and he watches everyone’s moves. Measures. Questions. Intimidates. This shouldn’t be an easy task, nevertheless, for Saliel and Athan it kind of is, which doesn’t mean everything goes well all the time for them.
I liked Saliel, she’s an okay heroine: brave, proud in a modest way, hates pretence, and even though she comes from the so called “Laurent’s cesspit”, she refuses to hide it or pretend otherwise; her goal in life is to be over with the spying and with its reward get her own house, and be self-sufficient. Athan… Athan has his moments. During a significant number of pages I only liked him as One, his spy persona; as for Lord Ivo, the nobleman he pretends to be, he’s… bearable, I guess. His character does improve slightly; after all he gets into a fist-fight with grown men to rescue a kitten from being stoned to dead in the street, still the improvement fails later on when he finally shows his snobby (asshole) side.
Let me just pause here for a second just to make clear that I enjoyed this book. Very much.
Although I find it, at times, in some way, repetitive, Gee’s writing style in this is just what it needs to be. Straightforward, fast-paced, with non-boring descriptions or dialogues and given that the main characters, which are the narrators, are always pretending their actions and sayings even when they interact with someone they actually like, the reader gets to be aware of their true feelings because the author gives that away most of the time.
Finally, and I have to say this, even though this is (supposed to be) a book about spies, secrets, life saving magic (it’s just hypnosis, really), a hero and a heroine who go through all this danger in court, in the catacombs, while fleeing, I felt like I was always reading about sex. Forced sex. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no violence involved, or graphic scenes, it’s just that the theme is always there, somehow. From Athan’s frequent visits to the courtesans’ salons so he can inconspicuously extract informations out of the nobles while they “relax”, to Saliel’s perpetual numbness and grave disgust just of the thought her husband, who she can’t stand, bedding her. And there’s always the remorse, the guilt, the shame, the abhorrent memory of their quite disturbing wedding night. Even though he can be a total ass sometimes, Athan can’t really get all the blame for this, in fact, from my point of view, both he and Saliel are figuratively raped by their master in that fatidic oh-my-god-what-just-happened scene. Which, by-the-way, brought me to mind (bear with me on this) Mr.Darcy, yes, Mr.Darcy insightfully telling Bingley how Lizzie was tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt him, with Lizzie at an audible range. I couldn’t read fast enough to know what the hell he was going to do to make things right, because I was 100% sure there was no way she would ever forgive him. So I found myself in that same situation again as Athan neatly undressed and climbed onto the nuptial bed while Saliel looked as if she wished someone could just please kill her right there.
Believe it or not, in a nutshell this is a love story. Think “Pride and Prejudice” meets “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, and since I’m a sitting duck for love stories I have to recommend and say I’ll certainly read Emily Gee’s previous and further novels.
(A big thank you to the DGLA for this review book!)